Friday, June 20, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge # 18

Outdoor Hour Challenge # 18- Looking for Pollen

We started this challenge by heading over to my wave petunias. I knew they would give me a great opportunity to discuss the corolla tube as well as an amazing view of pollen. I tried to get a good picture although I'm not sure how well it turned out.

The Handbook of Nature Study has several pages on petunias (pp 581-584). I read these pages AFTER our walk (actually two days later) just out of curiosity over how the petunia itself produces its seeds. The HNS surprised me that it only has two colors listed for petunias. Rather than discouraging- I found it amazing that in such short time we have SO many beautiful colors to choose from. As with the others - I find myself learning much from our nature studies and outdoor hour challenges.

The other thing is that bees are attracted to the petunias but can become frustrated at the difficulty they have in obtaining nectar from the long tubes.

"...but bees will also work industriously in the petunias. They will
scramble into the blossoms and, apparently complaining with high-pitched buzzing because of the tight fit, rifle the nectar-wells that
seem to be better adapted to insects of quite different build." ~
HNS pg. 583

It was quite interesting. We walked around our yard and looked into all of
the flowers and tried to see any pollen on them. Some had more than others
and quite a few (like the wave petunias) were easy to see and also easy to
find pollen left on the petals.

My four year old dd then prompted to tell me that it must have fallen off of one of the bees because it was the bees "job to help the flowers get their pollen to each other." An amazing perception from my baby :). The girls (the twin 4 yo's) were afraid of bees and so we had a long talk last summer about how important they were to keeping the beautiful flowers they love growing. I never thought a year later she would percieve things this way. We had quite a bit of fun looking inside the different flowers' "anatomy" and discussing them. As Ms. Comstock also found - it is VERY interesting to my dc (as well as myself now - as I had never thought to look at the differences INSIDE the flowers) to inspect them for pollen.

Briana very maturely explaining the bees' "job" to me.

The first insect we found was on one of the roses' leaves:

I am still trying to correctly identify this insect. It is obviously a beetle, I believe I have even narrowed it to a Scarab Beetle but I am still hesitant to classify it any further. I have found several pictures that look similar to it.

**(Side NOTE) **Once again- the challenge has sparked our interests off into another direction because my dc and I want to know EXACTLY which type of beetle this is. In moving things around in the garden
bed we found several more of these beetles - although a bit less metallic" in color that burrowed underground as quickly as the earthworms we unearthed. In some of the reading we've done - it appears that female and juvenile beetles live most of their lives underground. The male adults do not survive much longer than thier mating time. It's peaked our curiosity so if anyone knows more or can specifically identify it with certainty - we're all ears :)!! If we could narrow it down with certainty I believe we can research whether or not the beetles burrowed underground in the garden bed are related to the ones we are finding on all of the rose leaves. I highly suspect they do. My son has especially been questioning it because he's fascinated about beetles living
underground. :)

Since I started this- I have been leaning towards the Japanese Beetle - Popillia japonica , it's quite well that I looked into this as every article I've read discusses the damage these fellows inflict upon gardens.

Picture taken from the above referenced website. Not a pretty picture for our roses! :(

This was the 2nd insect we found. It was clinging to the back of the corolla of a vinca. My son was so insistent that nothing be harmed, he didn't trust anyone to put it back on the vinca. He HAD to do it himself and it had to go right back on the back of the corolla lobe it came from!

I'm not surprised at all by this as he became QUITE upset with my sister and I both last week when we had to "terminate" the black widow and it's egg sack. He was very upset with me. I was proud that I have been successful so far in raising such an aware young boy but I had a hard time explaining to him my justification for the destruction of the spider who couldn't help that it was dangerous to us. At the end of the day- it was that I loved him more and unfortunately mommy felt it necessary.
I hope this is not why he wouldn't allow me to touch his little find. After all - our favorite poem is, "Hurt no Living Thing" by Christina Rosetti

Hurt no living

Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle

Nor harmless worm that creep. n

We worked in yard for actually a couple of hours and enjoyed it. Spent time weeding (not so able for me - I won't fib) but my ds doesn't seem to mind it at all - maybe the tearing or the dirt - I don't know- I enlisted his help. In the meantime - my dd used the leftover soil and pots on the picnic table to make all kinds of "pies" and "cakes". r birthday is this Sunday so they are heavily into cake mode!! :)

I was pleased with how the yard and gardens are coming. Since we left a beautifully landscaped home in January (thanks to my dh not me) it's been different but since my husband has been otherwise occupied for now - it's been nice having the time with the kids and being able to make our choices and really get in their and enjoy the fruits of our labor. :) It feels so good to walk around and see the beauty the Lord blessed us with and know we have stewardship to keep it beautiful.


White Rose


The Children's Marigolds

My dc were so happy to take care of their marigolds again. I believe these were the most important plants I have ever bought just for the sheer joy they bring to the kids. There is a certain pride they have in tending and caring for them. I highly recomend anyone getting one for their children. Such a unique enjoyment they seem to have.

The kids are going to finish their nature drawings for this challenge and I will post them right away but I wanted to share the experiences we've had so far.

My dc and I were sitting on our front porch this morning observing the robins in our front yard and just enjoying chatting with each other. My ds looked at me and asked if we could, "Do nature study out back?" I was delighted that he enjoyed it so much! It warmed my heart that he was enjoying the time together as much as I was! As of the past year - he's not so touchy feely with mom as he used to be so getting such a compliment about time spent together just made me soar. :) My girls' can not get enough lap time and kisses but my son has been shadowing my husband for so long now that it made me so happy to know he enjoyed this so much. I mean - I KNOW he enjoys time with me and loves me - he's a six year old lol but it just had a special feeling to it that is hard to describe. I'm sure those of you doing this with your dc knwo what I mean :). It's a memory to cherish.
And then>>>>>
A few hours later he's sparring with a partner and off he goes - LOL -


jamie in rose cottage said...

Your flowers all look lovely, and I think those probably are japanese beetles. I fight those every year myself. :-(

Great study.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Great post and I love all your details and photos.

Thanks for sharing your link with everyone,